Two days after Wesley Autey jumped into subway tracks to save another straphanger from an oncoming train, everyone still wants to hear his story. With good reason: Not only is it an incredibly heroic story, Autrey's matter-of-fact explanation for his actions ("it's just being able to be here and help the next person.") and his humble demeanor:
"I don't think I did anything heroic. I just saved a life. I don't call myself a hero because the real heroes are overseas dying for you and me."
Autrey was on CBS's Early Show, which had a crazy computer re-creation of the save. And the re-creation doesn't even show how the savee, NY Film Academy freshman Cameron Hollopeter, was having a seizure at the time!
Autrey will be appearing on Late Night with David Letterman tonight and will be honored by Mayor Bloomberg today, and he's also gotten requests to appear on The Charlie Rose Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Apparently Donald Trump's people say there's a $10,000 check waiting for him (Autrey said, “They offered to mail it; I said, ‘No, I’d like to meet the Donald, so I can say, Yo, you’re fired.’ ”) while the Film Academy gave Autrey a $5,000 check and offered future scholarships to his two young daughters to attend its teen program.
But we have a feeling the best thanks Autrey is getting is from Hollopeter's family. Autrey went to Hollopeter's hospital room and met his family. Hollopeter's father Larry said
"Mr. Autrey's instinctive and unselfish act saved our son's life/ There are no words to properly express our gratitude and feelings for his actions. Cameron is recovering and stable. Now he needs his rest, and our wishes are that you respect his privacy. May God’s blessings be with Mr. Autrey and his family."
Autrey has been working on converting classrooms into a library at PS 380, John Wayne School, in Brooklyn. The Daily News' Michael Daly said that the school was named after the actor (a District 14 superintendent was a "big fan") but the school should be renamed after Autrey instead.
Update: The MTA is giving Autrey a year of free rides (12 unlimited monthly Metrocards) and gave his daughter some MTA schwag. Disney is giving the Autrey family a week-long, all-expenses paid trip to Disney World, plus tickets to see the Lion King and a backstage tour. At the City Hall press conference, Autrey said again that he wasn't a hero and said the real heroes are the young men and women fighting in Iraq.
Photograph of Autrey and his two daughters from the CBS Early Show; graphic of the subway trough from the NY Times